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Slow Duck Hunting Continues

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We headed down to the camp for Thanksgiving weekend which in my book is the best hunting / fishing time of the year. In the past we shot mostly limits of ducks and were able to catch speckled trout that migrated inshore from offshore.

This past weekend we continued to struggle shooting ducks with mostly empty skies where in years past there were plenty of ducks. So far this season no blind in our club has limited out. That has never happened for the 30 years I have been duck hunting in the area we are in.

Over the last few years with ducks in decline we duck hunters were optimistic hoping with each passing cold front new ducks will come. Well, we have had cold fronts and we have the vegetation in the ponds but very few ducks. Like in the Peanuts cartoon years ago Lucy keeps pulling the ball back on Charlie Brown as he runs up to kick the ball falling flat on his back. The fronts come but no ducks. My optimism for the season is nearly gone as I don’t see anything changing this year for our area. I will be happy to be wrong with my forecast for future duck hunts.

I get the same reports of lack of ducks from hunters I know around the state and reading other forums in the Mississippi flyway. Mother nature has changed the game for the short term, hopefully not for the long term.

We will continue to hunt and fish having fun as we always do this time of year. Despite the lack of ducks, it is still a great place to be.
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Re: Slow Duck Hunting Continues
Delta Duckman,I most definitely feel ya pain and gonna attach pic of much-younger Mandevillian,sans beard,and with nice strap of heavy greys,12 2005 vintage,NShore Marsh when she pretty much routinely gave those of us willing to bust our rumps hunting gorgeous ponds.Get used to de new norm,my friend,no signs of improvement,at least NOT where I have been hunting and one of our advantages is we hunt hard,mobile,and bust it to completely conceal our blinds and I have attached many a pic of my palmetto blinds where ya can't make out fine Chapman tucked away from wary duck eyes!!!Hope springs eternal and gonna really have to slug it out tomorrow,hunting as far from other hunters as I can possibly get and with just a tad of luck(who can beat my luck Sun-NOT firing a shot and picking up freshly-killed Woodie hen),coulda easily come fairly close to a limit this past Sat!!!

Mandevillian,NEVER giving up!!
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Re: Slow Duck Hunting Continues
Hey Delta, I agree with your statements about this season. The sky’s are definitely not as full as they were just 3 years ago when limits of greys and teal were still the norm in our area of Delacroix. I am not seeing but a fraction of the ducks we are used to but have still been pulling of good hunts. The Dogris have been keeping the action alive and we are getting enough shots at other ducks to get close to full limits on the good days. We always hope that the next hunt will be the best of the season. What if they show up and were not there? That is what keeps us going back into the marsh we love. Good luck the rest of the season.
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Re: Slow Duck Hunting Continues
Ducks won?t migrate until the food to the north is gone or covered with snow. If you had the best buffet next door to your house. Would you drive 40 miles down the road to eat a hot dog? \r\n\r\nIf, by some chance, the Feds would change the season back to 30 or 45 days and a 3 Duck limit watch how fast things would change for us. Big money would be gone and the farmers would hurry to harvest the corn and beans. \r\n\r\nI usually hunt ducks every chance I get since 1992, until this year. It?s plain pathetic. I started fishing more and deer hunting instead of chasing the ducks.
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Re: Slow Duck Hunting Continues
concretecracks,Spot-on regarding the scenarios unfolding past bunch of years and it is indeed pathetic that we continue to suffer sub-par seasons.That pic of me was taken about 14 seasons ago when we had total devastation due to Katrina and the Delacroix Marsh and NShore Marsh was scoured out of feed but we still shot mostly fairly quick limits of predominantly greys!!!Flyway Federation was established to do its part to rectify some of the damage inflicted due to flooding of corn and hunting that flooded corn/beans,etc.

Mandevillian
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Re: Slow Duck Hunting Continues
Guys, just a question, I think the flyway is changing, where are all the snows? they are increasing in numbers and although I haven't killed many here, used to see them flying every morning I would hunt.

What are your thoughts on the flyway moving??
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Re: Slow Duck Hunting Continues
Just my own personal observation thus far this year. Have harvested 12 ducks so far, 7 different species, but the glaring number is just 2 grey ducks. That's just shy of 17%, folks. When hunting was better, greys made up about 70% of the ducks taken. I know there are pockets of greys in places, but in general my personal opinion is that many of the greys likely have shifted westward from the Mississippi Flyway to the Central Flyway. Until the greys return in substantial numbers it's going to be slim pickings and plenty of MT skies!
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Re: Slow Duck Hunting Continues
Few and far between in Golden Meadow also!
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Re: Slow Duck Hunting Continues
Not sure if we need to stick it out tad later in our blinds but do know that one strategy that always seems to work out is to wait out other possibly less-than-diehard hunters and that not only gets ducks moving but often greys tend to be lazy and fly tad later.Might be worth de waiting out!!

Mandevillian
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Re: Slow Duck Hunting Continues
Yes the flyway has changed not just for us but for everyone. I have a friend who just came back from Arkansas and four guys hunting in a blind shot 11 ducks. That was the best hunt they had over three days. That is just one example.

I know there are some flooded hunts going on up the line but it is my opinion it isn't having a drastic effect on ducks coming to Louisiana. Some impact yes but not a show stopper. There are some places doing well in the flyway but not many.

As Mr. Reynolds has stated there are half the ducks in our state. I would say there are probably half the ducks in the flyway. With that said the USFWS is very unlikely to change the 60 day 6 duck limit season. The DUCK business learned the financial lesson back in the 80's when they reduced the ducks to 3 and cut the season to 30 days. The duck hunters quit then the lost revenue with licenses, clothing and equipment etc. hit home. The duck business is to big to fail now thus we have what we have. Mother nature changing but the duck business has to keep going, to much money at stake.

My opinion of where we are now.
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Re: Slow Duck Hunting Continues
Would certainly agree on your take of the duck business; it's a monster that we all shoulder a tad of the blame for, and like you said, is likely too big to fail now.
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Re: Slow Duck Hunting Continues
Guess we gonna all have to target woodies,tough to alter their migratory patterns!!!

Mandevillian
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Re: Slow Duck Hunting Continues
I hunt in Pecan Island. We hunt fresh marsh on the north side. In 4 hunts we have killed a total of 8 ducks with none lost. Three years ago it would have been 54 in 4 hunts. We are seeing less than 25 ducks flying in the area on average. I have no explanation as to the causes.
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Re: Slow Duck Hunting Continues
Mandevillian, LOL I think they will soon find a way to alter those wood duck patterns lol
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Re: Slow Duck Hunting Continues
I had an interesting conversation just this afternoon with a Medicare Client who knows a thing or two about duck hunting,specifically hunting the NShore Marsh before it was a Federal Refuge.He made the comment that the ponds out there got totally rearranged so much so that the predominant duck,used to be plenty of greys,is now teal and dat makes sense since marsh restoration basically elevated the ground levels,effectively turning deeper ponds and trenasses into ridiculously shallow ponds,perfect for teal but probably NOT ideal for puddlers like mallards and greys.He said the Feds did an impact statement and were planning on REDUCING by 1000 the take of ducks and he said,back in the day of Flat Point Hunting Club,over 1000 ducks were taken,just on Opening Weekend!!!Amazing how the Feds can totally rearrange a once-thriving duck mecca and alter it to the point where the once-predominant duck,grey,has been displaced with teal.We saw very few greys today,maybe 8 total,and just as we were headed out,saw big band of well over 40 green wing teal!!One of my die-hard hunting buddies made the comment that he can foresee the END of duck hunting in LA in not than many years,sad,sad,sad!!!Duck hunting has been so stellar dat I am doing solo fishing trip,when I should be having a great time chasing ducks!!!Again,I hunt as hard as anyone and when I toss in de towel,serious problems must be contributing to it,again a sad situation!

Mandevillian
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Re: Slow Duck Hunting Continues
South Louisiana quickly becoming the scaup capital of the country. Next season the scaup limit will be 2 for the first 45 days then ONE for 15 days!\r\nWhat genius came up with that!?\r\nProbably the one who requires us to use non toxic shot while shooting at waterfowl BUT I can go out with a skeet thrower and shoot lead all day long in the marsh as long as I\'m not shooting at waterfowl!\r\nSimply stupid to say the least. Another example there is a place in southwest Louisiana we used to hunt doves. Lead shot allowed. But then they flood the fields for ducks later in the season and you need non toxic shot!
The freaking lead is STILL on the ground from the dove hunts!!!!!!
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Re: Slow Duck Hunting Continues
This is a cold beer conversation. So many factors at play. But at the end of day, there's no doubt we have less ducks.
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Like I keep saying,gonna have to start targeting woodies and I personally want zero scaup and about only time we shoot em,other than by total accident,is if dat is all there is flying and opted outta hunt today due to the stellar success we have been having!!!Maybe once decent fronts hit us and lotta folks toss in de towel,ducks might cooperate!!!Diehard duck hunter and I chatted just yesterday and he pretty much convinced me to trade Beretta for either .270 or crossbow,probably kick in de head dat I needed and the area not too far from me is open til Feb 15th,way after sorry duck season over!!!Thank God for fishing and deer hunting-also love stalking tree rats but only when no deer hunters around!!!

Mandevillian,headed out fishing
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what ever happened to the federal flyway organization ? did it just taper out or is josh making any headway in getting stuff changed in the northern states , regarding hunting over flooded corn fields ?
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MANDEVILLAN, I AM WITH U AT THIS TIME IF I SEE A SCAUP I WOULD SHOT IT, BUT I HAVE NOT YEAT BUT IF I DO AND I GET MY 3 IT WOULD B LIKE I SHOTA GREEN HEAD THAT HOW BAD THIS YEAR IS , WITH THAT SAID LAST YEARAT THIS TIME I HAD A 100 DUCK THIS YEAR 15 THAT A 2 MAN BLIND, NOW THERE TALK OF A 45 DAY SCAUP HUNT NEXT YEAR WITH 2 THEN 1 FISHING LOOKING GOOD TO ME RIGHT NOW WE DO GOOD DOWN HERE IN GOLDEN MEADOW SAD TO SAY THE COST MAY B AT THE END OF WHAT WE USED TO CALL GOOD DUCK HUNTING DOWN HERE.
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Re: Slow Duck Hunting Continues
Guys, hang in there, been able to scout every Friday, shooting good numbers of ducks, but moving around. The days of having a lease and hunting it every weekend like Flat Point are over...Headed to St Joseph this week, have a client with property up there, supposed to be some green heads

Going to El Campo Tx in 2 weeks, they are having best year in last 5 this year, that's why I raised the question on the flyway changing

Shoot straight
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Re: Slow Duck Hunting Continues
Delta, We have harvested a fraction of the birds we usually harvest so far this year, I've tried to use the so called migration map on the DU site and basically it's useless or at least for me it's a waist, do I believe the migration pattern has changed? yes at the end of last season when the hard artic front made it's way down south and finally froze everything up the birds for our area were here after the season closed but your point of flyway change and late migration appears to be true. I do believe that some of the hot cropping up in the northern and mid section parts of the country are impacting the migration timing on what hits our area when or at least this is my opinion. The last good teal season we had was 2015 than noticeable changes in there arrival began later and later arrivals, this year non existent for our area which is usually Teal Haven, Same holds true for the Big Season, duction in Grays as well as rafts of Coot, Over the years I've seen swings in the #'s hitting our marshes and had my fair share of 0 bird days as well as great days and hoping this is just a low cycle in duck #'s. Hunted Friday and there are a few more bands of Teal floating around. We'll ride the cycle out and see if anything changes make a few more hunts, deer hunt and fish a bit to sooth the life long waterfowl addiction I've been blessed with. As for USWLF changing things up, I don't see it either way to much big money at risk for them.
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Re: Slow Duck Hunting Continues
Most had a bad year last year, we had a I call a good year that year with 101 duck the first half this year 17 duck the first not good we hunt a two man blind in golden meadow , Will give the next half a opening try it it not good will b fishing witch is good down here, and as far as next year with a 45 day 2 scaup then 1 may b my end of duck hunting for us with a duck lease of big money it is not worth it will fish, sad no one will help us , we need a change down here if not duck hunting will b at it's end.
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Re: Slow Duck Hunting Continues
Four of us managed to get 2 drake hoodies this morning in the Amite river swamp. The wood ducks have all but vanished over here, only heard one at daybreak. Slow first split to say the least.
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Re: Slow Duck Hunting Continues
Hunted yesterday in Pecan Island. Not a shot fired in my blind. Had 2 teal pass by at about 50 yards high at legal shooting time. End of birds for the day. Happy the first split is over. Totals: 5 hunts, 8 ducks. Three scratches. This is getting disgusting. May be better off with three Wood Ducks every day.
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Re: Slow Duck Hunting Continues
A516ga,Think I might definitely target woodies as there are places in swamps where they should be plentiful and when my older son and I first started duck hunting,we would take a pair of Woodie decoys,toss em in slough in Bogue Chitto Refuge and at that time,limit on woodies was two but it has been 3 for long time,well worth it for three tasty ducks vs hoodies or scaup!!!Been miserable duck season,at least for me but know of some folks hunting Delacroix and Venice that are doing well.Guess we got de short straw on NShore,gonna seek some fish tomorrow and hope for the best come Second Split!

Mandevillian
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Re: Slow Duck Hunting Continues
Though my numbers are surprisingly good for this first split, because I don't stay under a rock I realize there's a whole lot of historically good areas that are doing bizarrely poor, and that's very concerning. It just doesn't make sense given the weather. Nonetheless have some good fronts in the forecast (today), next week, etc. so we'll see.

105 ducks and 3 specks on 12 hunts (11 duck hunts, 1 speck-only hunt)

To compare first split ducks from recent years:

67 on 10 hunts 2018 1st split
89 on 10 hunts 2017 1st split
82 on 8 hunts 2016 1st split
96 on 12 hunts 2015 1st split
108 on 12 hunts 2014 1st split

Seemed to see a few more Saturday morning (post-front) than we had been seeing so maybe it\'s headed in the right direction......maybe.
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Re: Slow Duck Hunting Continues
Those of us Federal/Public Land warriors would love to know where the bread n butter greys have been hiding and do know a few folks that have done exceptionally well on Public Land(one gent I know has already logged more than 21 pintails and over 196 total ducks so far this season)but he is most definitely an exception and I hope to head South once things work out.It most definitely is NOT the feed situation,get tired of folks trying,in vain,to convince me and Bayoubob that habitat destruction the cause for our ridiculous lack of ducks.What is very disconcerting and alarming is the trends in the WRONG direction,downward!!!Hope springs eternal and gonna fish tomorrow,hope a duck die-hard and his son are destroying NArkansas greenheads!!!Hope to scout a tad tomorrow.

Mandevillian
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Darren , that some pretty good first split numbers ... not sure how many we killed but we are having some really good success so far ... 90 percent of the ducks we are killing is greys !!
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Venice hunter just sent me pics of two mounts,one looks to be mallard/widgeon cross the other fine stud pintail.Saw very fine flock of woodies today while fishing the T-Funky and like I keep alluding to,might just have to salvage a sub-par duck season with targeted woodies!!!Where we hunt must be 'no-fly' zone for greys!!!

Mandevillian
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